Family Receives Pins 16 Years after Marine Son Died

March 3, 2012 Updated Mar 3, 2012 at 12:51 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

March 3, 2012 Updated Mar 3, 2012 at 12:51 AM EDT

West Seneca, NY

The family of Private First Class David Meyer Jr. can now proudly wear their American Gold Star family pins awarded to family members of servicemen and women who die during active duty.

"David died 16 years ago and we never received them, we were entitled to them but we never received any pins," said David Meyer Senior, David's father.

The 23 year old marine died suddenly from a rare heart condition on October 15th, 1995 just six months after enlisting.

"To somebody else it may not mean as much but to a family who's lost a child it means the world," explained Dorothy Meyer, David's mother.

The young marine's family applied for the pins last October and were told it would take up to two years to receive them. But they had already waited more than a decade so they called Congressman Brian Higgins who had the process completed in one week, just in time for the family's annual memorial service where Higgins personally presented the pins.

"This was our project for this year we've done many other things over the last 16 years in his memory but this is by far the biggest!" said David Meyer Sr.

David's mother is also an active member of the American Gold Star mothers organization where she helps other mothers coping with loss.

"To see these new mothers, these new Iraqi mothers who are only like 40 years old and have lost their child and they say to me how do you get through it and I say to them you get through it by doing for others and it helps you to deal with the grief," said Dorothy.

This year was the first fundraiser the family hosted during a memorial service and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the West Seneca food pantry.